I don't remember who actually set the top to toe challenge to have a Fair Isle knit hat or a pair of Fair Isle socks completed between January 1 and April 1, but I was determined to try something new. I heard about Sandy Blue's Midnight Sun tam then saw it at Churchmouse when I was attending Janine's Color in Fair Isle class and decided it was so beautiful, I wanted to try it. Once I decided, Karen delivered the yarn and pattern so swiftly, I didn't have a chance to feel panicky. I have shared my experience with it along the way, from the German cast-on to finally deciding with which colors to replace Bracken and Yellow ochre. Sandy talked with me not only in person at a Ferals meeting to tell me how she went about choosing new colors when shades get discontinued, but later by phone when I had novice-tam-knitter questions about the wheel chart. I'm not a fast knitter, and am even slower when doing the stranded knitting since I'm still learning technique, but even I thought I could finish the tam by April 1. And I did finish the knitting at the Ferals on March 31, with help from Rebecca and Naomi reminding me to read my color chart AND my knitted item, and with Melinda showing me the spit splice color change to avoid the hundreds (as it seemed) of ends to knit in. So finally, here it is!
The show and tell was this past Monday April 7 - I took my camera to capture images of some of the completed tams. Still to come are Wendy's re-colored Midnight Sun tam and Diana's hat - maybe more that I don't even know about. I'm sure there must have been more hats and some socks that didn't make it to the meeting. The folks who brought completed items were very generously given prizes from Karen Campbell and Linda K (two people I neglected to photograph) - I was lucky to receive the Koigu shown at the top, and am planning a pair of ribbed socks as soon as possible. Other prizes included pattern books, other colors of Koigu, needles, and I can't remember what all.
The knitting wasn't all hats and socks! Here's Lori on the left with her own intricate and beautifully colored design becoming a cardigan. She began this design in Janine's class when and that's when we met her and invited her to Ferals - she's been a devotee ever since! She also got in the spirit of the challenge and designed and knitted her tam in one day. And here's Janine on the right with her Armenian technique Leo sweater - this is another classic in the making to join Janine's collection of heirloom sweaters.